“Johnny English Strikes Again” Getting Past Bond to 00 Ought Nott

Rowan Atkinson’s brand of comedy is so successful because he knows how to play straight man to the rest of his body. In Johnny English Strikes Again this kind of straight hilarity allows the film to rise above its James Bond parody aspirations. Johnny English is funnier than it has any right to be because Atkinson is seriously stupid yet classy in the best possible way.

All that is required of the cast is to be as straight and irate as possible. Emma Thompson is the only one that attempts to match Atkinson’s facial hilarity. The result does not look good on her. A great actress she may be but a good comedienne she is not.

The plot involves using low tech stupidity to avoid the take over of the world via high tech villainy. Atkinson stumbles his way to success. The one delightful surprise, seeing how good Atkinson is with his students, is that the Harry Potter series never provided Atkinson the opportunity to be Hogwarts tenured professor in the art of mis-prestidigitation and errant magic.

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